Should I send my children to school? Is it safe for teachers and staff?
I don’t have the answer.
The question is one of confidence and faith in the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson has said schools are safe and parents should send their children back to school. Yes the risk to young children remains relatively low, but the subsequent risk of the children to their wider families is a worrying unknown.
It is a judgement call for parents! Do you believe the government have a handle on Covid?
We all agree about the importance of education and children being in school. Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector, rightly said children’s education cannot be furloughed for months as we wait for the pandemic to subside.
However, these are easy comments to make by politicians and Ofsted, from the safety of a remote office. For those on the frontline these are questions of life and death.
The government and regulators have had over 12 months to prepare for Covid and the potential for school closures. Yet, a year after Covid emerged, the government have no policy to facilitate effective remote learning, or ensure that all children have the resources to enable home learning. They have no plan to keep staff and families safe.
The education profession are fearful. They want to teach. They want to teach all children in class. But they have a right to be in safe schools. They are not being consulted and receive updates via the news without any time to prepare for the government’s frequent policy changes.
The government need to change their approach from one of confrontation to consultation. Speak to the people who are in the classroom and find out what is working and what isn’t. They have drastically changed their working and teaching methods since March, finding ways to ensure as much normality as possible in the classroom whilst trying to maintain safety. But with the rises in cases and the new variant now in play added to the mixing of families over Christmas, current practice is not going to keep them or their families safe.
We are now going through our third Covid outbreak. The government need to park their attacks and start to listen to those with legitimate concerns about the Covid response.